Farmers gearing up
Mon, 11/28/2016 - 12:00am Barbados1
With increased arrivals expected into the country in the coming months, head of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) says the farming community is gearing up to meet the anticipated demands.
Moreover, the BAS’ Chief Executive Officer, James Paul said that across the board, production is expected to be in keeping with previous years or slightly higher. He made the disclosure while noting that his only concern is in terms of pork production, which has been a “little flat” in recent years. Paul said the BAS, being aware that this aspect of the sector has not been responding to the market as it should, is looking to launch “special initiatives” aimed at increasing pork production going forward.
“Overall I am hoping that our farmers will meet any demands put on them, but I can’t say that with 100 per cent certainty, as it seems that with the amount of arrivals we have on the island to date, we are having a bumper season,” Paul said in an interview with The Barbados Advocate.
However, he explained that there should not be any major problems, as both livestock and crop farmers usually prepare to meet the requirements of the Christmas season in respect of households and the hospitality
industry. He indicated that this year has not been any different, and noted that the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations, which is expected to attract additional visitors to the island, and the limited rainfall which has posed somewhat of a challenge to farmers, are factors that they have also taken into consideration in their planning. In respect of the latter, he noted that going forward the sector is cognisant of the need to pay more attention to water harvesting and recycling to ensure that they have adequate water supplies.
Meanwhile, touching on the importance of there being strong linkages between the agriculture and tourism sectors, Paul said the relationship between the two has been “fruitful” thus far. He is hoping to hear during next month’s Barbados Hotel and Tourism and Association quarterly meeting, how they intend to support the farmers even more.
“There is a project we know is supposed to come on stream [that] is sponsored by the Inter American Development Bank through which they are to see how they can facilitate greater access by hotels and of course restaurants to local produce,” he said.
The BAS head added, “In that respect, we have a responsibility to try to ensure that we increase the capacity of the local farmers to be able to take advantage of those markets.” (JRT)